Engineering Professor Ridolfi Works on Reopening of Arno River Tunnel

Professor Alessandro Ridolfi, who teaches a class on Dynamics for our engineering students, has collaborated on an exciting plan to reopen a pedestrian tunnel beneath Florence’s Arno River as a researcher with the University of Florence’s Department of Industrial Engineering (UNIFI DIEF), working on an underwater robot used to monitor the flooded tunnel (pictured above).

7.5 million Euros have been earmarked to fund the project, which will bring back to life the old “secret” tunnel below the Pescaia di San Niccolò, a small-scale dam perpendicular to the San Niccolò historical quarter. Nicknamed the “Underground Vasari Corridor” by Tuscan President Eugenio Giani, the 800-ft. Pescaia Tunnel leads from Lungarno della Zecca to Piazza Poggi.

Located 16 feet belowground, the passageway was once used by soldiers and later as part of the city’s aqueduct before being shut down in 1959. It needs to be drained, secured, and waterproofed before it can be reopened to the public and facilitate tourist access to Florence’s Oltrarno artisan district. See this article in Il Reporter newspaper for photos of its current state.